A couple of months ago I was fortunate enough to get an iPad for my 40th birthday! I even got to visit London’s flagship Apple Store to pick one up.
I was very keen to get my hands on some ‘must-have’ apps so that I could easily demonstrate, to all who would listen, the ‘must-have-ness’ of this ‘must-have’ item!
Unexcitingly, the real purpose for the purchase was University and not lugging the laptop around all the time. But a funky notepad wasn’t going to cut it… I needed slick graphics, cool interaction and, probably, very big and very loud guns!
I really love the iPad2. I never had an original iPad because, to justify it’s purpose, for me it needed a camera… so I waited. Consequently I can’t compare with the original, but it must be said that while iPad2 does have a camera, it’s not the best… it’s not even that good.
For video it does do a great job. For stills however it really isn’t up to scratch, which is a shame. However, for quick ‘sketch-book’ functionality when compiling ideas and capturing spur of the moment events it’s adequate.
Having said that, my most used app over the last two months has been a photo one!
Instagram is the only specific app that I knew I ‘needed’ before I had got the iPad. I’d seen others sharing images through Twitter using this app and it really appealed to me.
It’s is a simple idea. Take a photo (from within the app or lift an image from your library, and therefore use other photo-capturing apps…), choose from a minimal number of filters to give your image a slightly retro ‘polaroid’ feel and then share it. You can auto share through several outlets…I use Twitter and Flickr but there’s also Facebook, Email, Tumbler, Foursquare and Posterous. Essentially, it’s visual Twitter.
Through the Instagram community you can follow other users and ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on their images as well as view the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ of those you follow.
Interestingly there is no Instagram repository for all of these images online, so they can only be viewed through the app, which creates a level of exclusivity which is in keeping with the concept.
You might be wondering, as I would, why anyone would need ‘another’ community to belong to..!? But it doesn’t feel like that. It doesn’t feel forced or cumbersome, just a cool way to create and share images with like minded people and your wider networks.
What’s cool for me in light on what I’m trying to do through my project is that there are examples like this of people sharing snippets of stories. With Instagram, maybe it’s the ‘whole brevity thing’ that makes it so popular… like Twitter there’s minimal investment by the audience… but it’s interesting enough that you find yourself checking back to see what everyone’s been up to.
So, thank you Instagram, a fascinating take on storytelling and a great influence on me on how I take my projects further.
For designers and entrepreneurs, here’s an interesting insight from Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom into how the ‘original’ idea for the Instagram app changed quite drastically from a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of features to simply focussing on just one.